WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic Surpasses 1K Players as Heavy Hitters Chase $1.6 Million Prize

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Day Two at the WPT Five Diamond Poker Classic in Las Vegas was one for the record books. With 1,001 entries, it became the largest field in tournament history which dates back to Season I of the World Poker Tour.

WPT Five Diamond poker
WPT Five Diamond Poker classic had a record 1,001 entries and will pay its winner $1.6 million. (Image: wpt.com)

Players dropped like flies on Day Two as the blinds became a factor. But there are still 178 players left and only 126 get paid, all chasing the $1.63 million first place prize. Not a bad holiday gift for some lucky – and skilled – entrant.

Many poker greats remain, including a pair of massive field crushers and former WSOP champions, Joe McKeehen and Joe Cada. Solitary confinement prop bettors Rory Young and Rich Alati advanced to Day Three which begins at noon PT on Wednesday. And, as is customary, Darren Elias has a big stack deep in a WPT event.

Ryan Tosoc’s quest to repeat as champion remains alive but he finished Day Two with a slightly below average stack (160,000). He also finished second in 2016.

Massive Field Crushers Crushing It

McKeehen and Cada are in familiar territory, dominating a large-field tournament. The former won the 6,420-player field WSOP Main Event in 2015 ($7.7 million) and took third in the 2018 WSOP Millionaire Maker ($538,000), an even larger field (7,361 players).

Cada, the 2009 world champion, is fresh off a summer that included a fifth place finish in the second largest Main Event in history (7,874 players) and, less than a week later, a title in a $1,500 no-limit hold’em tournament which had 3,120 entries.

The former world champions, neither of whom have a WPT title, are back to their massive field prowess. After Day Two at the WPT Five Diamond at Bellagio, McKeehen is second in chips (784,000) while Cada also has a healthy stack of 375,000, good for 93 big blinds (2,000-4,000/4,000 blinds when Day Three begins).

A third past WSOP Main Event winner – Joe Hachem (2005) – also advanced to Day Three. The Australian poker legend will start the day with 106,000. That’s plenty of chips for another pro who knows how to win.

From Solitary Confine to the Felt

Everyone is chasing chip leader Calvin Anderson (789,000). And that includes a pair of pros who recently agreed to the conclusion of one of poker’s most intriguing prop bets.

Rory Young (400,000) is among the 26 players with at least 100 big blinds. On Monday, he agreed to pay Rich Alati $64,000 to buy out of a 30-day solitary confinement prop bet 10 days before completion.

Just two days after exiting the dark, confined space he lived in for 20 days, Alati registered on Day Two of the $10,400 buy-in WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic. Although he didn’t run up a big stack, he turned his 40,000-chip starting stack into 103,000, enough to avoid the frustrating all-in-or-fold mentality early on Thursday.

Alati received attention from the mainstream media for his prop bet. When asked by a WPT reporter about the bet, he refused to share details as he’s seeking “offers” for an “exclusive interview” in the coming days.

WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Notable Chip Counts

  • Darren Elias (569,000)
  • Ben Lamb (435,000)
  • Andrew Lichtenberger (326,000)
  • Erik Seidel (244,000)
  • Antonio Esfandiari (226,000)
  • Cliff Josephy (225,000)
  • Kristen Bicknell (219,000)
  • Justin Bonomo (213,000)
  • Ryan Laplante (180,000)
  • Anthony Zinno (64,000)

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